Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not represented as fact|
The Internet has become the catalyst for a huge number of products, services
and businesses since it started to appear on the public's radar during the
early to mid 1990s.
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
While it has been a super-highway paved with gold for many existing and new
companies, it has turned into a minefield for the world's biggest software
company -- Microsoft.
In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the Internet might well have become
Microsoft's undoing and will ultimately shatter the company's market dominance.
Need Cutting-Edge Copy?|
As NZ's longest-running online commentator, I'm looking for
extra syndication opportunities for this daily publication -- or I'm happy
to write casual or regular material specifically to order for print or
Net-based publications. If you're
interested, drop me a line
If my rusty memory serves me well, Bill Gates once told the world that the
Net would never amount to much and that *his* network, MSN, would provide
the communications services we needed.
IBM once said that the world would only ever need about three computers.
This was the first sign that the Net was to become Microsoft's nemesis and
the first of two parallels I'll draw between MS and IBM.
About this time, Microsoft were also forced to do something totally foreign
to their corporate nature -- they began to give away software!
Yes, those smart boys at MS figured that they could buy a web browser,
tart it up a bit, and give it away. This they thought, would allow them
to steal Netscape's market because (if you remember), Navigator wasn't
actually free at the time. You could download it and use it, but you were
supposed to send of a small sum ($49?) if you weren't a student or something.
Of course this game-plan failed. Early versions of IE made little headway
against Netscape's superior product -- and that's why MS decided to fight
nasty and was eventually found guilty of monopolistic actions by a US court
as a result.
However, perhaps just as damaging to Microsoft at this point was the way
that the Net allowed people to pirate and distribute the company's other
software products as "warez."
Those who wanted a copy of MS Word or one of the company's games could simply
find a warez site or newsgroup and download the stuff -- free of charge. Of
course it took forever and was not without problems but it was free and, as
we all know, the type of person who does this doesn't have a life so they
can afford to spend a week downloading $200 worth of software.
So MS decided it would get into the corporate Internet/intranet business and
started producing software such as IIS, the company's web-server product.
About this time, Microsoft began to learn that it was totally out of its depth
in the area of online security.
Let's face it -- when you write software for stand-alone desktop PCs, security
consists of locking the door when you leave at night -- but the online world
is a totally different place and it requires a far more pro-active approach
to protecting data.
Even five years later, Microsoft hasn't quite got its head around the fact
that not everyone who you might connect with has benign intentions and its
Net-applications continue to be easy targets for crackers and worm/virus
As this little history lesson shows, Microsoft has had a lot of problems with
the Net -- and it's now entering what I think could be the most dangerous phase
of the company's online activities.
Windows XP looks set to be a less than outstanding success from a commercial
perspective. Huge numbers of users appear to be saying "no thanks, our
existing setup works satisfactorily" and others are saying "no thanks,
Never again will we see the unbridled "must havism" that surrounded the launch
of Windows 95. Windows 98, Me and 2000 turned out to be "ho-hum" releases
with most sales probably being sold with new computers rather than essential
upgrades to existing systems. The new, draconian licensing terms and
high price of XP have ensured that it will be the same.
Then there's .Net and the Hailstorm project. These are doomed.
Microsoft has tried to inflate its all-encompassing Internet bubble just a little
too far and it's about to burst.
An unacceptably long and shameful history of bad security -- culminating in
last week's cracking of the company's much touted and supposedly ultra-secure
digital rights management system for audio and video has scared people away
from entrusting Microsoft with their valuable data.
The penalties associated with its antitrust conviction are also to be decided
shortly -- something else that could throw a spanner in the company's money-making
"Nobody ever gets fired for buying Microsoft" is a term that is bandied about
in the IT departments of the world. Step back just 20 years and people were
saying the same about IBM -- but then IBM also became arrogant and draconian
in its licensing.
In the late 1980s, after setting virtually every standard associated with the
highly successful IBM PC machines, IBM decided to get tough and enforce harsh
licensing and high prices for its new PS2 machines with their revolutionary
Now we have Microsoft trying to ignore standards such as MP3 in favour of its
own proprietory (and craced) WMF format. Now we have Microsoft tightening
the licensing of its software to an unreasonable level.
That's the second parallel I draw between MS and IBM.
If we ignore history then we are doomed to repeat it.
The time has never been better for someone to bump Microsoft from its throne
and I believe that the IT world will be a significantly different place
within five years -- with Microsoft no longer enjoying the dominance it has
Microsoft is big -- but the Net is still bigger and more powerful.
Save The Aardvark Fund
Yes, I have had several donations to the Aardvark fund and I thank those
who put their money where their mouse is :-)
If guilt is gnawing away inside you then there's still time to donate.
Just drop by and
hand over your loot.
Add Aardvark To Your Own Website!
Got a moment? Want a little extra fresh content for your own website or
Just add a
to your pages and you can get
a free summary of Aardvark's daily commentary -- automatically updated
each and every week-day.
Aardvark also makes a summary of this daily column available via XML using
the RSS format. More details can be found
Contact me if you decide to use either of these feeds and
have any problems.
Did you tell someone else about Aardvark today? If not then do it
There are new Vacancies Last added 2 Oct In The Job Centre
There are 14 Domain Names for sale